There’s something about Colorado Springs that just feels majestic. Maybe it’s the views – whether you’re gazing at the sprawling cityscape or taking in the Rocky Mountains in the distance, there’s no shortage of beauty to take in. Or maybe it’s the sheer number of options for activities and attractions.
Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure or a relaxing day of hiking and exploring, you’ll find it all in Colorado Springs. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that this city is truly special – and once you experience it for yourself, you’ll understand why.
Similar to Denver, much of the appeal here lies in plethora of outdoor activities available within an hour or so from the city. With so many options, here’s our list of the best things to do in Colorado Springs.
1) Hike through the Garden of the Gods
Hiking through the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is an unforgettable experience. The views created by the unique sandstone rock formations are simply incredible, and it’s hard to believe that such a beautiful place exists on earth.
The hiking trails are all relatively easy, but you’ll certainly get a good amount of steps in. The one drawback here is that it does attract a lot of tourists and can get crowded quickly, so I would recommend getting there early (park opens at 5am).
Despite the crowds, if you’re ever in Colorado Springs, you still have to make sure to check out the Garden of the Gods. It’s an amazing place that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.
2) Feeling Adventurous? Do the Pikes Peak Hike
For any hikers that want to put a fourteener (a mountain over 14,000ft high) under their belt, Pikes Peak is only an hour away! Views from the top of Pikes Peak are some of the most stunning in the world.
On a clear day, you can see for miles in every direction. The mineral deposits in the soil give the views an otherworldly quality, as if you’re looking at another planet entirely. For hikers, reaching the summit is an incredible accomplishment; 14,115 feet above sea level is no joke!
It’s not an easy hike by any means, but it’s worth it for the views alone. Just make sure your prepared, as “winging it” doesn’t really work when it comes to hiking fourteeners. Here’s a really great guide for making sure you’re ready.
If you’re prepped and love hiking, make sure to add Pikes Peak to your list of things to do. You won’t regret it!
3) Explore Red Rock Canyon
Hiking Red Rocks Canyon in Colorado Springs is amazing. The views are incredible, and it’s so easy to get to. The canyon trailhead is literally across the road from Old Town Colorado Springs, and there are plenty of parking options.
Once you’re there, the hike is gentle and good for hikers of all skill levels. You’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the red rocks and the valley below. This is a great hike for all skill levels, and it’s a perfect way to experience the beauty of Colorado Springs.
4) Visit the Royal Gorge
The Royal Gorge is one of the most breathtaking natural wonders in Colorado. Carved out over millions of years by the rushing waters of the Arkansas River, the gorge is a sight to behold. At its deepest point, the gorge is over 1,000 feet deep, and the cliffs that line its sides are sheer and towering.
The views from the top of the gorge are simply incredible, and visitors can often see for miles in every direction. If you are lucky enough to visit in the Fall you will be treated to some of the most captivating foliage in the country.
The great part about visiting the Royal Gorge is that there really is an option for everyone. Looking for a family-friendly outing? Take in the views from a gondola ride, walk across the bridge, and grab lunch at the visitor’s center.
Need more of a thrill? Check out some of the zip line or white-water rafting options instead! No matter how you choose to experience it, the Royal Gorge is a must visit when you are visiting Colorado Springs.
5) Visit the Manitou Cliff Dwellings
The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are a historical landmark located just a couple minutes away from downtown Colorado Springs. The dwellings were built by the Anasazi people between 1200 and 1300 AD, and they served as a way for the Anasazi to connect with their ancestors.
The Manitou Cliff Dwellings were abandoned in the late 1300s, and they were rediscovered in 1888 by a group of prospectors. Today, the Manitou Cliff Dwellings are a popular tourist destination, and they offer visitors a glimpse into the lives of the Anasazi people. These structures, older than some European castles, are a unique Colorado Springs Landmark.
6) Take a Wolf on a hike with Colorado Wolf Walks
Taking a walk in the Colorado wilderness is an exhilarating experience. There is something unique about being in the midst of nature, surrounded by the sounds of birds and the rustle of leaves. And when you add a wolf to the mix, it makes for an even more memorable experience.
If at this point you’re wondering if I’ve lost my mind, I can promise you that this is an actual activity ran by a qualified group of handlers.
Wolf Adventures is a Colorado based tour group that specializes in hiking with wolves. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see such a magnificent creature in its natural habitat. Anybody looking for adventure in Colorado Springs should look no further than Colorado Wolf Adventures.
7) Try out Horseback Riding
Ok, so horseback riding may not be a unique experience, but if you’re visiting from anywhere east of the Mississippi, then you probably haven’t experienced anything like horseback riding through some of the amazing places that Colorado Springs has to offer. There are tons of trails to choose from, including horse-friendly paths in Garden of the Gods and Red Rock Canyon.
Horseback riding is a great way to relax and get some exercise. Horseback riding is a great activity for all ages. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, you’ll enjoy horseback riding in Colorado Springs. So, bring your cowboy hat and your sense of adventure, and come experience the joy of horseback riding in Colorado Springs.
8) Watch The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is one of the most iconic and dangerous races in the world. Held every year in Colorado, the race sees competitors battle against both the clock and the elements as they attempt to reach the 14,000 foot summit of Pikes Peak.
With cars, bikes, and even quads taking part, the event is a true test of both man and machine. Over the years, there have been numerous accidents and fatalities, making it one of the most dangerous motorsports events in the world. However, the race continues to attract competitors from all over the globe. Whether you’re a petrol head or simply a fan of extreme sports, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is definitely an event that is worth watching.
9) Take a ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway
The Pikes Peak Cog Railway is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Colorado. The railway offers visitors a unique way to experience the stunning scenery of the Rocky Mountains. The railway ascent to the top of Pikes Peak, one of the tallest mountains in the United States.
The trip takes about three hours round-trip, and passengers can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding area from the comfort of their seats. The railway is also a great option for people who want to avoid hiking or climbing to the summit of Pikes Peak. In addition to its scenic value, the cog railway is also an important historical landmark. It was completed in 1891 and was used as a mining train until 1948. Today, it is one of only a few surviving cog railways in the world.
10) Visit the Air Force Academy Planetarium and Cadet Chapel
Aside from being one of the best schools in the nation, the United States Air Force Academy is home to a state-of-the-art planetarium and cadet chapel.
The planetarium has a high-definition projection system that can simulate different planets and starscapes, while the chapel has a stunning glass artwork that depicts the cosmos. The cadet chapel is also a beautiful and unique place of worship, open to people of all faiths.
It is used for weddings, funerals, and other special events on Air Force Academy grounds. The combination of these two facilities makes the Air Force Academy a place unlike any other.
11) Check out The United States Olympic Training Center
The United States Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs is a premier training facility for American athletes. It is also home to the U.S. Olympic Committee, the governing body for Olympic sports in the United States.
The USOTC was built in 1977 and has since been expanded to include more than 150 acres of land and over 30 buildings. It features state-of-the-art training facilities, including an arena, a track and field stadium, a weightlifting center, and a gymnastics center. In addition, the USOTC offers support services such as sports medicine and nutrition.
The USOTC has played a pivotal role in the success of American athletes at the Olympic Games, helping them to prepare both mentally and physically for the rigors of competition. If you’re ever lucky enough to visit the US Olympic Training Center, you’ll understand why it’s considered to be the premier facility of its kind.
12) Go to The National Museum of WWII Aviation
The National Museum of WWII Aviation in Colorado Springs is truly expansive. The museum has over 30,000 square feet of exhibit space and features more than 60 aircraft from the WWII era.
In addition to the airplanes, the museum also houses a large collection of artifacts, documents, and photographs. The museum is open year-round, and visitors can take part in guided tours, educational programs, and other special events. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a unique place to visit, the National Museum of WWII Aviation is something you won’t want to miss.
13) Visit Glen Eyrie Castle
Glen Eyrie is a beautiful castle located in Colorado Springs. It was built in the late 19th century by Civil War General William Jackson Palmer, and it served as his family home for many years.
Today, the castle is open to the public, and visitors can tour the grounds, including the formal gardens and expansive lawns. Although it is no longer inhabited by the Palmer family, Glen Eyrie remains a beautiful and historic landmark in Colorado Springs.
14) Check out the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is a unique blend of art museum, performing arts venue, and educational center. Founded in 1936, it is one of the oldest and largest cultural institutions in the region.
The Fine Arts Center boasts a world-class collection of American Indian art, as well as rotating exhibitions of contemporary art. It is also home to a professional theater company and an award-winning children’s theater. In addition to its artistic offerings, the Fine Arts Center provides a wide range of educational programs for all ages.
Whether you’re looking to explore your creative side or learn more about the world of art, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is a great place to start.
15) Visit the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is a great place to learn about the history of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region. The museum features a variety of exhibits on topics such as the city’s founding, the area’s Native American history, the Gold Rush, and more.
The museum also has a research library that houses a wealth of historical documents and photographs. In addition, the museum offers a variety of educational programs for all ages. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for something to do on a rainy day, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is definitely worth checking out.
16) Spend an Afternoon at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Situated at the base of the Rocky Mountains, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo provides a natural habitat for its animals, many of which are native to the area. The zoo offers a variety of fun and educational experiences, from feeding giraffes to taking a behind-the-scenes tour. And with over 800 animals to see, there’s something for everyone. So whether you’re looking for a fun day out or a chance to learn about wildlife, be sure to add the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to your list.
17) Go Golfing in the ROckies
Colorado Springs is home to some of the best golf courses in the country. With its scenic mountain views and challenging terrain, the city is a mecca for golfers of all skill levels. Whether you’re looking for a quick round of 9 holes or a full 18, there’s a course in Colorado Springs that’s perfect for you. And with so many courses to choose from, you’re sure to find one that fits your budget and your ability level. So what are you waiting for? Get out and enjoy the great game of golf in Colorado Springs today!
Recap of Best things to do in Colorado Springs
- Garden of the Gods
- Pikes Peak
- Red Rock Canyon
- Royal Gorge
- Manitou Cliff Dwellings
- Walk with Wolves
- Horseback Riding
- Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
- Air Force Academy Planetarium and Cadet Chapel
- The United States Olympic Training Center
- The National Museum of WWII Aviation
- Glen Eyrie Castle
- Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
- Pioneers Museum
- Fine Arts Center
- Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Where to next?
Looking to explore the midwest? Check out Dubuque, Iowa!
Heading out further West? Check out the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island in San Francisco!
Love live music and a great nightlife scene? Head to Austin, Texas next!